NoFollow Just Isn't Cool

    June 27, 2007

I understand why Google wants us to nofollow tag all of the comments on our blogs.

Comment spam is crappy -true. It’s a nuisance and an eyesore -true. Add to that the weight and importance Google places on links in their ranking algo… It’s no wonder Google perceives comment spam as such a problem.

I got it.

Now, here’s the problem – and mind you, this isn’t anything that hasn’t already been said by people a lot smarter than me. The problem is, slapping a nofollow tag on somebody’s link when they’ve taken the time and effort to make a thoughtful and compelling remark or comment on your blog or site, just isn’t cool.

What does it say?

Does it say; ‘Hey, thanks for being a contributor to my site and helping to develop a great discourse about the topic to everybody’s betterment!‘?

Not exactly. It’s more like; ‘thank you drive thru‘ – it’s not even that nice. More accurately, nofollow – in my mind at least – says;

‘You left a comment. I would love to acknowledge your existence, but you might be a spammer. Since you might be a spammer, I better not link to you. Google doesn’t like spammers and… you know, you’re either with Google or you’re against them. So, I can’t really, you know, risk it.’

Well, here’s a newsflash for you: that sucks.

The Internet, is about links. Links are why Google is good -remember? Links make the algo hum and the results relevant (to some extent at least). That’s great and I appreciate Google for their work. That said, if the links are abused and somehow manipulated to leverage some advantage in Google… why is that any body’s problem but Google’s?

Why all of a sudden do we have to start being rude (and yes, nofollow is rude) to people who have shown us courtesy by leaving us a comment? I’m from the South. I guess maybe I’m hypersensitive to rudeness – but that’s how I see it.

And before I get too carried away with a Google rant, I’ll say this too: It’s webmaster’s fault too. That’s right. It’s your fault too Mr. Blogger guy. Google doesn’t want comment spam so you just throw your collective hands in the air and say;

‘oh well, I guess I’ll just have to throw a nofollow on everything then’.

And why is that exactly? What, because you couldn’t possibly be expected to actually keep an eye on your comments and junk the junk and trash the trash. No way. That’s crazytalk. Blasphemy.

Why not? Oh let me guess, because then you wouldn’t possibly have time to maintain and update the 625 blogs you have to maintain to keep that adsense money rolling in. I’m looking at you dirty again too, Google.

So spam comments and spam blogs and MFA (made for adsense) sites are all bad and crappy and they pollute the web. But the best way to combat this – the only real solution – is to say I have to be rude and nofollow everybody that leaves a comment on my blog.

Whatever. I call shenanigans on that one.

So here’s what I’m gonna do about it. From now on, anybody that leaves me a comment on the blog is going to have the nofollow tag on their url removed. If I could put an extrafollow tag on there, I would. I’m going to do the same for comments on WebProNews articles as a matter of fact.

Crazytalk you say? Feh! I can do this no problem because I actually READ the comments. I will delete bad/trashy comments but I won’t make everybody pay for the fact that some people are spamming. If I miss one, I’m confident that people will email ( and let me know — — that’s right I’ll even put an email address in public places.

Now, the actual links in the body of your comments will still be nofollowed. After all, you might be a really clever spammer and Google doesn’t like spammers. And you know, you’re either with them or against them and all that…